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Engaging Activities for Seniors with Dementia

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

A grandmother and daughter working with dough.

For caregivers, professionally trained or not, discovering ways to keep your loved ones with dementia entertained is a task within itself. Spending time with them can be very meaningful and fun — especially if you can discover what hobbies or interests bring them copious amounts of joy and recognize what level of ability they have to complete these stimulating tasks. There are several ways to keep a loved one with dementia entertained and that's exactly what we will go over in this article.

Finding activities to do inside the home may feel like the easiest route for you and your loved one dealing with dementia, and it often can be. There are a range of fun activities you can enjoy together or include the whole family in that can fill your loved ones mental and emotional meter.

Complete a jigsaw puzzle

The only objective to completing a puzzle is to… solve it, creating a beautiful picture. Solving puzzles is a great way of mentally stimulating and exercising the brain while also promoting cognitive function.

Watch something that interests them

Being cozied up on the couch with a favorite childhood show or movie playing on the television is a great option for your loved one. It offers a relaxing experience and can help inspire pleasant memories from their past, improve their mood and stimulate the brain.

Play a card game

War, Crazy Eights and Uno are all great card games for seniors with dementia to play. Playing card games helps improve memory, cognitive skills and on top of that allows for some socialization time, which is very important.

Arts and crafts

Providing a loved one with a way to express themselves at any stage of dementia is highly encouraged by professionals. Arts and crafts, whether modeling with Play-Doh or painting a ceramic mug, can help promote cognitive stimulation, creativity and higher self-esteem.

Baking cookies

Not only is eating cookies enjoyable, so is baking them! Baking a batch of your loved ones favorite cookies is a great task for them to accomplish. It is a very hands-on activity but can be done in a creative way, especially if cookie cutters are involved. Baking cookies can help sharpen fine motor skills, improve the mood and stimulate the senses.

Experiencing life outside of the house is beneficial in numerous ways. It can promote physical activity, allow access to fresh air and offer sensory stimulation to things like hearing the sounds of birds chirping and the wind wrestling the leaves of a tree or feeling the grass between your toes. Below are ideas that you can offer your loved one to experience outside:

Take a walk

Taking a leisurely walk in the great outdoors is a simple and easy activity that not only exercises several muscle groups in the body but also feeds the brain fresh oxygen which helps increase energy levels, boost mood and stimulate cognitive function.

Feed the birds

Most everyone, at any age, gets joy from feeding wild animals. Having the hands-on experience of nurturing wildlife can help boost the mood and promote a sense of purpose. Bird watching can also be a great learning tool and can help stimulate memory when learning about the birds in your area and talking about them on a regular basis.

Watch dogs at the dog park

Enjoying an afternoon at the park? How about enjoying an afternoon at the DOG park! Dog parks are great places for people to socialize. Especially if your loved one has been a dog person their entire life, they can enjoy petting other people's pooches and receive sensory stimulation from the sights, sounds and… possibly smells.

Enjoy a picnic together

Creating a unique experience from kitchen to cloth, a picnic is a great activity that your whole family can be involved in. Spending the afternoon in the park with tasty snacks, fun interactive games and socialization can provide your loved one with many benefits, including sensory, mental and physical stimulation.

Water the plants in your yard

Taking a quick break to step out into the yard, no shoes on, can benefit a loved one with dementia in more than just one way. Giving the responsibility to hold the hose and water the plants can help build confidence and promote a sense of purpose. Also, studies have shown that being connected to the earth by walking barefoot may help increase antioxidants, reduce inflammation and improve quality of sleep.

There are an endless amount of activities for your loved ones with dementia to do, indoors and out. It is important to find “safe” activities that are also things they love and feel comfortable doing, but it is equally important to create new experiences for them. Enhancing your loved ones daily routine with engaging activities that help stimulate their brain function and improve cognitive health will prove beneficial to you both!


Enjoy this article? We have many more articles about senior health and dementia for you to explore! Plus, there are healthy recipes that you can try out that promote a healthy diet… click here!


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